Today at Berkeley Lab

60-Year-Old Film Surfaces, Depicting Discovery of Mendelevium

A reel of black & white film shot nearly 60 years ago has surfaced at Berkeley Lab, depicting the discovery of Mendelevium — or Element 101 — as reenacted by some of the legendary scientists who did the actual work at that time, such as Al Ghiorso. Since the 1940s, Berkeley Lab scientists were locked in a race to synthesize new elements, and more often than not, they came out winners. Sixteen elements, most of them in the actinide series at the bottom of the periodic table, were discovered and synthesized by its researchers. More>


  1. Thanks Claude! I wonder if the “fission” group – with stan as its leader – was already established in 1955?

  2. Professor Choppin was my Ph.D. advisor at FSU in the 1970s and we heard the story of Greg’s involvement in synthesizing Md many times. This semester, I am teaching a nuclear chemistry course at Washington State University and just last week I related this story to my students. I am certain they will enjoy the video. Bravo and many thanks.

  3. My father is Dr G R Choppin, shown on this film. We – the family – have all heard this story about the run up the hill in the bug – which was much wilder than shown on this film! Greatly enjoyed seeing this and Dad watched and relived it several times!

  4. This is such a great clip! Our PPE has really come a long way in the last 60 years 😉

  5. Claude has performed a most valuable service by rescuing and restoring this historic film. It is unimaginable that this historic film was going to be trashed before Claude rescued it. Kudos to Claude!

  6. I agree, the Beetle runs uphill must have been pretty exciting, I wonder if it is still putt putting around some where?